News Release

Mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders display metabolic dysfunction

Three different mouse models have unique, sex-specific metabolic signatures

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Society for Neuroscience

Mouse Models of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Display Metabolic Dysfunction

image: A new study using mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders identifies alterations in energy metabolism that are sex-specific and distinct between models. These findings point to novel peripheral anomalies and force rethinking on how genetic mutations associated with these disorders affect multi-organ systems and overall body health. view more 

Credit: Illustration by Baptiste Lacoste. Created with

Mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders possess unique, sex-specific metabolic dysfunctions, according to a new study in eNeuro. Understanding the unique metabolic effects of each disorder in both animal models and humans may lead to more personalized treatments and diagnostic methods.

Any disorder affecting the brain also impacts the body. People with neurodevelopmental disorders -- including Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorders -- are at increased risk for developing diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Yet the impact of these three disorders on metabolism has not been studied.

Menzies et al. measured the resting energy metabolism of three neurodevelopmental disorder mouse models: Down syndrome, 16p11.2 deletion syndrome, and Fragile X syndrome. The mice spent 48 hours in a special cage that tracked gas exchange, activity, food consumption, and heat production. The research team also measured metabolites in the blood. Despite similar food consumption and physical activity levels, each mouse model exhibited a unique, sex-specific metabolic signature. The signatures varied in terms of energy expenditure, fat and carbohydrate utilization, body composition, and metabolite levels. The results suggested all three mouse models may be showing signs of mitochondrial dysfunction, meaning their cells have issues using and producing energy.


Paper title: Distinct Basal Metabolism in Three Mouse Models of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

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About eNeuro

eNeuro is an online, open-access journal published by the Society for Neuroscience. Established in 2014, eNeuro publishes a wide variety of content, including research articles, short reports, reviews, commentaries and opinions.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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